Long, full days of meetings accompanied by large numbers of attendees can make for the planning of healthy food options, movement and mental breaks a challenge. By the end of the day, attendees are exhausted and mentally drained. A recent study by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) focused on this very issue, highlighting which wellness standards are being met and those that are still struggling to be implemented. Read on to find out how Fitspot is helping to change the structure of conferences with experiences focusing on mind-body initiatives.
The IRF 2019 Wellness in Meetings and Incentive Travel study of 329 meeting planners reveals the contradiction between stated company goals and the resulting health and wellness practices actually present during large company meetings or conferences. The study found that 64 percent of meeting planners said their conferences are only “somewhat healthy,” 24 percent rated their conferences “mostly” healthy, and 5 percent reported “very healthy.” Only two wellness practices were considered standard and used at all conferences: smoke-free facilities and offering water/ reduced-calorie drinks. These are shocking figures coming from companies that have expressed such paramount interest in incorporating wellness practices into their space. It seems that somehow conferences have become a grey area for healthy initiatives.
How can we address this issue? One key finding from the study cited that external planners reported being more successful at implementation than internal planners did. Cue Fitspot. We’ve brought a variety of experiences to conferences that focus on bringing people together. If you need further proof, the study cited that clients will accept additional costs from external planners to incorporate health and wellness practices and experiences. Meetings can be designed to be healthier, even with a budget in mind. In fact, healthy food and beverage (33 percent) and group exercise (25 percent) were ranked the most impactful wellness practices by experienced meeting planners.
Fitspot is a game changer – we offer on-site experiences to activate conferences and bring together a community of individuals that may not have known each other before. Based on Fitspot’s five pillars of wellness, here are a few ways to bring experiences to conferences.
- Offer alternatives to traditional desserts and healthy snacks like fruit and nuts
- Consider serving fish, chicken, or lean meats; whole grains; locally sourced and/or organic ingredients; and vegetarian and gluten-free options
- Provide nutrition guides for attendees (based on conference food and drink options)
Fitspot Favorite: Kombucha Happy Hour
Instead of serving alcoholic drinks at a bar, consider a switch to kombucha. High in probiotics, antioxidants, etc, it’s a fun and healthy way to imbibe.
- Provide free access to a nearby fitness facility
- Encourage movement throughout the day by implementing frequent breaks and a casual dress code
- Offer activities that encourage participation adapted for various health and ability levels, such as free fitness activities (e.g., hiking, yoga, etc.)
- Host sessions at venues off-property within walking distance of the hotel
- Gamification of fitness (create challenges where attendees can earn points, host Fitbit step competitions, etc.)
Fitspot Favorite: Morning Yoga
At the PERKS 2019 Conference in NYC, Fitspot kicked off the one-day HR conference with a morning yoga session. Attendees had a chance to feel mindful and relaxed right from the start of the conference.
- Schedule mindfulness breaks throughout the day
- Provide resources to attendees such as meditation apps or quiet, “unplugged” rooms
- Include breakout sessions featuring speakers on wellness/health speakers
- Feature creative or artistic experiences, such as adult coloring, essential oil blending stations, etc.
- Feature non-traditional health activities (e.g., acupuncture, aromatherapy)
- Allow attendees to try the latest cutting edge technology, such as Theragun or Hyperice self-massage tools
- Use a wellness destination for the conference location (spa, health center, wellness retreat center, etc.)
Fitspot Favorite: Chair Massage
Every year at the BOMA Convention, Fitspot offers chair massages as a chance for attendees to spend a few minutes relaxing, which can be a much-needed break from the constant chatter of the conference.
Fitspot’s insight into physical, nutritional and mental wellness as well as stress management makes us a strong partner for companies seeking to revamp their meeting culture as well as build a stronger, happier community. Let us know how we can customize your next large meeting event!
Danielle is a contributing content writer for Fitspot. She is a former journalist and professional opera singer. Danielle is passionate about whole body wellness and understands the critical role optimal health plays in having the immunity, energy and stamina to excel on stage and off! Running, hiking and yoga are her favorite activities. Danielle resides in New York City and is always on the hunt for the best new coffee spot.